The Canned Vegetable Kristen Kish Recommends For A Quick Salad Topping - Exclusive

Kristen Kish has a busy life. As the host of Bravo TV's "Top Chef," the classically trained chef is constantly immersed in the world of food media. As the creative mind behind the restaurant Arlo Grey, she is regularly at the forefront of creative and high-craft dining concepts. With all her experience, it should go without saying that Kish has plenty of kitchen tips to help home cooks slide through a busy week of feeding themselves and their loved ones. That's why, when Tasting Table had the opportunity to talk to her in an exclusive interview, we were eager to know what sort of canned items Kish keeps on hand and why.

She revealed that she loves to have savory soup options for breakfast but that there was another canned food she champions for easy salad toppings. "There are several," Kish said. "Everything from chicken broth to soups to canned artichokes." What's so special about artichokes in particulate? They're a time saver, according to Kish.

"I am not going to clean an artichoke just to chill it and throw it in a salad," she said. "It's not going to happen. [I keep] anything that takes time on a random Tuesday when I want to make dinner for my wife, and I don't have the time to do it."

What canned artichokes to use for salad

Canned artichokes come in a few different forms. Artichoke bottoms are also a commonly canned product. This part of the artichoke is much tougher and can be fibrous, which is why it's often pickled or soaked in olive oil, with recipes calling for them to be braised, roasted, stuffed, or prepared in another long and slow method.

For salads, however, aim for canned artichoke hearts. They can be found either canned or jarred and in whole or quarter-cut. Artichoke hearts are soaked in water, brine, or olive oil to preserve them, with the latter sometimes having marination seasonings as well. Artichoke marinade can even be used as seasoning for your next batch of cooked veggies. The hearts come from the inside part of an artichoke and thus are more tender. 

Because of this softer texture, they work beautifully if you want an ingredient that adds a bit of heft to your salad without crushing the greenery. Alternatively, you could use hardier, seasonal greens like Swiss chard as a base for your artichoke hearts.

There are also abundant lettuce-free salad recipes for the home cook. Although Kristen Kish didn't provide any recommendations for what sort of salad to top your canned artichoke with, one natural pairing is finding a salty, acidic pasta salad recipe that could benefit from the vegetal bulk. If you're looking to cut out the carbs, give a traditional Greek Horiatiki-style salad a slight twist with the addition of canned artichoke hearts. 

Season 21 of "Top Chef" premieres on Bravo and Peacock in 2024.